A Maryland man is facing charges after refusing to wear a mask at an early voting site after election workers and law enforcement asked him to put a mask on or leave, authorities said.
Daniel Swain, 52, was charged Monday with violation of the Governor’s orders and trespassing charge after refusing to leave a voting site or comply with the location’s mask policy, the Harford County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan expanded the state’s mask order in July, requiring face coverings in most indoor locations and made violation of the order a misdemeanor offense.
Deputies were told that the Harford County Board of Elections had a designated area for voters who were unable or unwilling to wear a mask, but that Swain and another man allegedly refused to vote in that area.
Two election officials asked the men to leave and called for assistance after the men were declared to be trespassing, according to the sheriff’s office.
“Deputies worked to resolve the situation for nearly 30 minutes,” the sheriff’s office said. “At that time, one man complied and left the premises; however, Mr. Swain made the choice to continue to refuse to comply directives given by the Election Judge.”
When Swain refused to leave, he was arrested and transported to the Harford County Detention Center. He is not banned from the location and is allowed to return to cast his ballot, according to the sheriff’s office.
“While the polls are open to the public, they are subject to compliance with the rules and regulations set forth by the Board of Elections and the Governor of Maryland,” the sheriff’s office said.
Swain allegedly told officers that the request that he wear a mask was “unconstitutional,” according to a police report obtained by The Baltimore Sun. Swain recently retired from his captain position with the Baltimore County Department of Corrections, the local newspaper also reported.
A phone call and email requesting comment from Swain was not immediately returned to NBC News on Wednesday. Court records show he waived his right to an attorney at his initial appearance and his next court date is scheduled for Dec. 4.
The Harford County Board of Elections said in a statement Tuesday that it has made every effort to afford each eligible voter their right to cast a ballot.
“At the same time, we must protect the health of our citizens and the election staff by following Governor Hogan’s directives and the guidance of the Maryland State Board of Elections,” the statement said. “Our goal is always a safe, fair and successful election.